The push by some Republicans to arrest Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant” based on some vague theory that he might be tangentially linked to Al Qaeda has made me want to address a larger point. Mainly, that it is pathetic that the United States is even “at war” with Al Qaeda.
The United States is a huge country. We are the strongest economic and military force on Earth. The United States is the most powerful entity in human history. To say we are “at war” with a small organization of ideologically driven radicals raises this group to a level of importance they simply don’t deserve.
Over several decades Al Qaeda and all of its affiliates has managed to kill only a few thousand Americans with a dozen or so attacks. While tragic there are prescription drugs that have killed more Americans than Al Qaeda. Slippery showers are a bigger danger to your life.
This terrorist organization is a limited danger to public safety but they are not a threat to our survival, our government, our territorial borders, or our way of life. The only danger they posse to our way of life is if we overreact.
Al Qaeda is dangerous and should be a serious concern of the federal government, but to claim we are at war with it is absurd. They are simply too small and pathetic compared to the might of America that we should have never flatter them with such an unjustified importance. This small organization does not even deserve the honor of the United States being at war with it. It seems to raise them to an equal footing.
You don’t defeat terrorism by telling everyone to be scared and exaggerating it into existential danger to the nation. You defeat it by showing you are not scared and how far beneath you this gang of criminals and murders try is.